Tom McIntyre was left impressed by the performance of a Royals side full of Academy graduates, despite our Emirates FA Cup Third Round defeat at Kenilworth Road.
The 22-year-old defender, who finished the game as one of the more senior players on the field, was encouraged by the youngsters’ character, and how close they came to pushing the hosts into extra-time.
Reflecting on a match determined by fine margins, he said: “There was a lot of positives we can take from it, although we did lose the game. It was just a lapse of concentration, I think someone ran to the back post from midfield and on another day, it might not have fallen for him, but it did, and that’s what we’ve got to learn as young players.
“There were quite a few debuts today, and they’ve obviously not experienced that.
“I thought we showed a good reaction though, and came out in the second-half firing, where some young players could have crumbled, being 1-0 down, everyone stood up to the challenge and put up a good fight. We had enough chances to win the game on another day.
“I thought until the end we could have won it, we hit the bar twice and forced two good saves from their keeper, on another day it could have been a win.”
Sam Baldock’s withdrawal from proceedings saw McIntyre pull on the captain’s armband for the first time, a proud moment for the defender who hopes his opportunity to lead a Reading side can be the first of many.
He added: “It was funny actually, Sam passed me the armband at the end, and I was looking around thinking I’m probably the oldest player on the pitch apart from Luke, and I’m only 22.
“It was nice, hopefully one day I can take it from the start. Something I want to do more of in my game, is talking on the pitch. I think I can take myself to the next level if I communicate more. I think I am alright at it at the minute but there’s always room for improvement.
“Hopefully I can captain Reading again at some point.”
“It’s great to see the young lads coming through, and the conveyor belt still carrying on. I hope that everyone who did come on can make plenty more appearances for Reading, because that’s what they want to do.
“You always question young players when they come through, whether they will adjust to the dark arts of the game, and I think everyone dug in well, there was a few fouls on us but everyone kept their heads and even gave it back which I liked.
“That’s one of the biggest things when a player comes through, is how aggressive they are and how hard they work, and everyone out there did that, which is all you can ask.”
McIntyre, who was a commanding figure amongst the back line, was reunited with former Royal and childhood friend Gabriel Osho, who lined up for the opposition on Saturday.
He concluded: “It was really nice to see Gabe, as I haven’t seen him for a long time due to Covid-19. It was strange playing against him, I think in the last five minutes I went up top and it seemed a bit odd. I’m really happy for him as that was his first game for Luton, so I’m chuffed to bits for him.”